- President Donald Trump took to Twitter on Thursday to berate China for allowing illegal oil trading with North Korea.
- Ship-to-ship trading of certain goods, including oil, with North Korea is illegal under UN sanctions passed in September.
- This is the latest hurdle for the Trump administration as it tries to convince China to cooperate more in reducing the nuclear threat posed by the Kim Jong Un regime.
President Donald Trump criticised China in a tweet on Thursday following multiple reports that Chinese companies have been secretly selling oil to North Korea.
The sales would be in violation of UN sanctions against the Kim Jong Un regime and could threaten to derail Trump’s diplomatic attempts to denuclearize Pyongyang.
“Caught RED HANDED – very disappointed that China is allowing oil to go into North Korea,” Trump tweeted. “There will never be a friendly solution to the North Korea problem if this continues to happen!”
The Chosun Ilbo, a prominent South Korean news agency, reported Wednesday that US reconnaissance satellites in the region have spotted Chinese ships trading oil with North Korean vessels dozens of times since October. The report is based on satellite images and several sources within the South Korean government.
Ship-to-ship trading with North Korea was barred by a UN security council resolution passed in September, which strengthened sanctions on Pyongyang following a nuclear test launch earlier that month.
Trump has been both praiseworthy and critical of China’s cooperation in handling North Korea. In a series of tweets in July, he railed against China for doing “nothing” for the US on North Korea.
Following a meeting with Chinese President Xi Jinping in November, Trump appeared more confident in China’s willingness to cooperate, calling Xi a “very special man” and lauding his work ethic.
“We must act fast, and hopefully China will act faster and more effectively on this problem than anyone,” Trump said at the time, referring to the nuclear threat posed by North Korea. “China can fix this problem easily and quickly. I know one thing about your president: If he works on it hard, it will happen.”
Business Insider Emails & Alerts
Site highlights each day to your inbox.